A good economics essay introduction captures the reader’s attention and gives an idea of the essay’s focus. It requires students to define key definitions and list the overview and scope of the question.
Clear Definitions: Define the keywords in the question
Definitions are important to showcase the student’s level of understanding of the content to the examiners. Therefore, students should make a list of definitions, as they will come in handy when preparing for the exams. Alternatively, students may purchase ready guidebooks, which list the common definitions that they need to memorise in the A-level economics syllabus.
Writing an overview
If the essay question asks about a specific country or a particular market structure, it is important to also describe some characteristics of the country or the market structure given in the question. For example, if the essay is on the Singapore economy, students need to write something like this:
“Singapore is a small and open economy. Its small population size and lack of natural resources will mean that it has a small domestic market and is heavily dependent on trade for growth and survival. Singapore is thus very vulnerable to external shocks, which cause instability to the economy.”
Next, if the essay is on a perfectly competitive market, then an appropriate introduction would be as follows:
“A perfectly competitive market is characterised by the fact that no single firm has influence on the price of the product it sells. A perfectly competitive market has several distinguishing characteristics: there are many buyers and sellers in the market; the commodity sold is homogeneous; there is free entry and exit from the industry; perfect mobility of factors of production; transport costs are assumed to be negligible; both buyers and sellers are independent in their decision making and there is perfect knowledge.”
Scope: State the scope of the question clearly
Students need to define the scope of the essay clearly from the beginning, so that they do not go out of point. Tell the examiner the areas that will be discussed in the essay briefly in the introduction so that he can anticipate what is about to come up in the script. Students can use phrases such as: “This essay aims to explain…” to state the scope of the question.
How do I write a good body?
Topic sentence and Economic Analysis
Each paragraph of the body should only contain one key idea, which should be conveyed in the topic sentence. The key idea should be based on economics theories, principles and concepts.
An example of a topic sentence is as follows:
“In Singapore, the government has encouraged employers to adopt a flexible wage system which would help reduce unemployment during economic downturns.”
Diagrams should be drawn whenever appropriate and references must be made to the diagrams (e.g. A rightward shift of the demand curve from DD1 to DD2). The axes should be labelled as specifically as possible. (e.g. Instead of merely labelling price and quantity, the axes could be labelled as Price of Housing and Quantity of Housing respectively). Arrows that depict the shifts of the curves should also be clearly drawn in the diagram. The diagram should be drawn using a pencil and ruler and should preferably take up about one-third of the foolscap paper.
Using Contextual Examples
Students need to include examples in their essay in order to demonstrate their ability to apply economic theories into real world events. When possible, students should use the context given in the preamble and avoid using hypothetical examples in the essays.
In Singapore’s context, an example of a natural monopolist is the Public Utilities Board (PUB), which supplies water. The domestic size of the market is too small to support more than one large firm.
The Singapore government adopts market-oriented policies such as manpower policies to upgrade the skills of workers facing the threat of structural unemployment. An example of such a policy is the Skills Redevelopment Programme introduced to retrain displaced workers for employment in the InfoComm sector, Workforce Development Agency (WDA) Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) programme to train workers in sector specific skills and job redesign to make jobs more attractive to workers, especially among the older workers.
How do I write good evaluation points?
The evaluation can be what sets students apart from others if written well. Here are some things that examiners are looking for when reading an evaluation:
1 Recognise underlying assumptions. For example, in dealing with questions on demand and supply, it is important to write about the ceteris paribus assumption and also to give an example of how it can be altered in the short term. i.e. taste and preferences of a consumer may change over time.
2 Consider the time frame: Different policies might have different impact on the economy in the short term versus long term. For example, supply side policies need time to take effect and thus, require a long time frame.
3 Consider the feasibility of the policy: The extent to which a particular policy can be implemented. For example, an expansionary fiscal policy might not be feasible for a country that is facing a huge budget deficit.
4 Consider the effectiveness of the policy implemented and whether it can solve the problem. Students could consider the unique nature of the economy given in the question. For example, an exchange rate policy would be more effective in a small and open economy, rather than a large and less open economy.
5 Consider the desirability of the policy: whether there are any side effects that the policy might have on other economic objectives, i.e. whether there are conflicts of goals.
6 Consider the existing state of the economy: whether the country is currently facing a recession or inflation, and the severity of the problems faced can also affect the main economic priority of the government.
What else do students need to take note of?
Always plan the essay before writing.
Ensure that the paper is completed within the allocated time
Economics tutor Anthony Fok is the founder and principal tutor of JC Economics Education Centre. The founding of JC Economics was the product of his dedication to share his passion and knowledge in economics to his students. With a master’s degree in education and currently pursuing a Ph.D. in education, he is devoted in designing his tuition lessons with the best teaching methods to ensure that his students learn with the best. He also teaches the lessons personally to ensure that the quality of his lessons is not discounted.
Every lesson is planned carefully with learning objectives to meet. This assures that his students achieve in understanding the skills for the A-Level economics examinations. The lessons will cover the economics topics in the A-level syllabus, followed by going through various examination question types. Students will be taught on how to analyse the questions and to identify the question requirements. A step by step approach to applying the economics principles and evaluating answers will be taught in class.
Apart from setting learning objectives, tutor Anthony Fok also ensures that he weaves in real-life examples and his own personal anecdotes into his lessons. He is a firm believer in teaching through sharing his own experiences as he feels that students will be able to draw a relation to the experiences to the economic principles, thereby making remembering economics concepts easier. On the other hand, his experiences sharing make lessons more interesting and less mundane.
He also recognises that the learning needs of students in the economics subject also needs to be addressed even after tuition lessons. By providing his students with his mobile number, students will be able to get their queries answered immediately. He encourages his students to ask him any economics questions as it helps them develop a lifelong positive learning attitude and that students can go on with their revision quicker.
In preparation for the JC 1 Economics promotional examinations and JC A-Level examinations, the Intensive Revision Programmes are tailored to make revision for economics effective. Some of these programmes include case studies workshop and topic centred workshops (e.g. market failure, economic policies, etc.). Tutor Anthony Fok makes sure that these revision contents are concise for easy revision and students’ examination skills are strengthened. Students will be able to gain useful examination strategies and tips to apply in their economics paper.
His results can be seen in his former students’ achievements in excelling their A-Level economics examinations and moving on to further studies in prestigious universities. Economics Tutor Anthony Fok has also been featured in various media platforms such as news articles and television programmes as one of the best tutors in Singapore. These appearances prove his success as an effective economics tutor to his students. While his teaching methods are useful, he also credits all his students’ hard work in practicing the essential skills for economics and their diligence in studying for the economics subject.
Studying for economics is not tough at all if you know how to study smart and right. Not sure how to study for economics and looking for economics studying tips? Here are some tips for you:
1. The basics
Always have a positive learning attitude in school. This means attending all lectures and tutorials and doing your homework before class. School is the main source of knowledge and where you spend most of your time at on weekdays, so it is always very important not to skip any classes. Doing your homework before class also helps teachers meet their teaching objective for their economics lessons and to also facilitate class discussions more easily. Teachers may also give hints on what they may test for school-based examinations hence it is always good to be present for all classes.
2. Plan your time
Time management is crucial in revision. Always set a schedule on what you want to revise on that day. With a revision schedule, it helps you to prioritise which economics topics you want to focus on first. For example, you can set more revision time for weaker economic topics. Having a well-planned schedule could boost your motivation in revising for your examinations as you are able to keep track of your own progess
3. Make your own economics notes based on your own learning style
Everyone has different learning styles and needs. It is important to craft your notes that helps your picture the contents and concepts easily to suit your learning needs as economic concepts can be very complex. Some students may learn better with mind maps while some students prefer notes in point forms. Whatever way you choose to craft your revision notes, ensure that It is the right approach for your needs. If that certain way does not fit your revision needs, change your way of making notes to another style.
4. Practice, practice, and more practice
Economics is not just about memorising. Economics requires critical thinking skills to make sound judgements and the skills to apply and explain economics concepts correctly. For H2 Economics students, essay writing also requires practice to write in a structured manner. With continuous practice in examination style economics questions, you will be able to apply the answer skills without any difficulties. You will also be more exposed to different question types, which will help you become better prepared to face the questions posed in the examination papers.
5. Ask for help
Never suffer in silence, always approach for help. Nobody will know that you are struggling to grasp economic concepts if you do not speak up to clarify your doubts. You can always ask your friends for help first as they are the closest person you can find. If you are still unable to get your questions answered, approach your teachers or consider enrolling into economics tuition to make understanding economic concepts better.
Join us at jceconomics.com if you are looking into enhancing your economics revision.
The concern about whether to take up tuition is not only unique to the economics subject. As we become a more competitive society, everyone aims to get the best help to help ace their examinations. With so many tuition centres popping around the island and peers going for different tuition classes, it is no wonder that students raise this question on whether they should enrol into tuition classes too. Here are some signs to look out for if you need economics tuition:
1. Concepts are hard to grasp
Are you still facing difficulties in understanding the economics concepts even after reading your school materials and consulting your school teachers? If so, you may need an extra help in guiding you through these concepts. Economics can be a very challenging subject to many since it is a new subject for JC students. The concepts may not settle well in your understanding as some principles may be too complex.
In economics tuitions, tutors design their lessons in such a way that students can understand complex concepts easily and also teach them the skills to apply these concepts in their answers. Economics notes prepared by tutors are very effective for revisions. Tutors are also more than willing to help their students through consults or providing personalised feedback to students’ work. These are very beneficial for students to get the help they need to master the economics concepts.
2. Poor grades
Have you been scoring grades that may hinder your promotion to JC2 or doing well for your A-Level examinations? You may not be getting the right help needed for you in school. Poor grade is an obvious sign that you have not understood the economics concepts well and/or the examination requirements for your economics answers are not met.
As mentioned above, economics tuition helps you understand difficult concepts in an easier way. Tuition lessons also helps you to identify the question requirements so that you can apply your concepts accurately. Tutors are open to helping you clarify your doubts in any aspects of economics so ask away!
3. Different teaching style
You could be scoring decently, but the teaching style in school may not suit your learning needs. It is not uncommon for school teachers to have teaching styles that are not effective for some students as everyone learns differently. This may make you lose interest in economics. Similarly, you can choose the right tuition class which has the teaching style that fits your learning needs. This would make economics an enjoyable subject for you.
4. No time for revision
Many students’ schedules are packed with co-curricular activities (CCAs) commitments in school. These CCAs take up a lot of time as they require students to meet up for 2 to 3 times a week, or even more when competitions or performances are getting closer, depending on which CCA they joined. This leaves students with no time to study or revise what they have learnt in school. Especially when economics requires practice in applying concepts and to write economic arguments, students need time to master the subject requirements.
Usually, tuition centres offer classes during the weekends. When students enrol into tuition, they set aside this time to attend tuition classes, which helps them to catch up with their peers. They are able to revise and also learn how to apply examination strategies effectively. Tuition helps them to balance out their time for their CCA commitments and their studies.
Join us at jceconomics.com for the best help in economics.